In product development there is a technique called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It defines the minimal set of features that is needed for the first version of a product, putting aside everything that is not needed in the first step. The purpose is to build a elementary but already useful product as fast as possible and bringing it to the market to gather customer feedback–if there are any customers for product. Knowing that there are actual customers that will spend money on your product is a thing you want to know as soon as possible in your process of product development. Maybe it’s not worth to go on and more reasonable to focus on another product. But if there are people that use your product, magic happens: Your MVP startet a conversation between customers and you. From now on your product development process can be driven by your customer’s feedback. There is less guessing what customers might want from you to build for them. Your customers will also tell you when a product is good enough and when it’s time to focus on a more valuable product or starting a new one.
This actually turns around your way of thinking. Nowadays when I face a new project on my job or even in my private life, I’m asking myself the question: “What do I not have to do”. Instead of being carried away by enthusiasm, I will funnel all my ideas into one bucket, then picking those—and only those—which will be needed to achieve the project’s goal in a minimalistic manner. This is my MVP. After achieving the MVP’s goal, I will already have something to show to others to get early feedback. While getting feedback, I am already working on the next most valuable things of the project, that did not make it to the MVP. Also I can guarantee that the bucket of fancy ideas I got in my initial brainstorming session have changed a lot, just by actually working on the project’s MVP and facing reality. This helps you to fail early, reducing the risk to go down the wrong way to face a dead end.
This approach is a lesson to be learned for anyone and can be applied for many things in life.